0 comments on “Why is my teenager cutting?”

Why is my teenager cutting?

Hong Kong counseling and therapy services-teen-counseling

desperate-2100307_1920The modern teenager is under immense social and academic pressure.  Not only are teenagers going through rapid hormonal and brain changes, their social life is also rapidly changing with the advancement of social media.  Parents struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with their teenager because teens and parents tend to view the world through different lenses.  Your teen wants to be accepted and loved by their peer group as well as at home. They are seeking to find their self-identity amid the chaos.  Here are a few reasons why your teenager might be engaging in self-harm such as cutting.

  1. To alleviate emotional pain.  Physical pain takes the focus off of the emotional pain. Your teenager might not know how to cope with intense emotions such as rejection, loss or loneliness.  If your teenager is cutting because of this, listen to them speak about their feelings without punishing them or criticising them.  If you are unable to listen because of your own emotions, seek the help of a professional for teen counselling or for your personal support.
  2. They feel numb. If your teenager has become overwhelmed, they might have chosen to shut down their emotions.  They might feel numb because of voluntarily avoiding their emotions or due to severe anxiety or social anxiety.  The cutting helps them to feel alive.  If your teenager is cutting because of this, professional help for your teenager should be sought after.
  3. They want to punish themselves.  Your teenager might have gone through rejection, break-up or other failure and they believe they should be punished.  Speak to your teenager and try to help them understand that they do not need to punish themselves and that you love them.  If you are unable to be calm in this situation, seek a professional to speak to your teenager.
  4. Social Media.  Your teenager might have seen photos on social media glamorising cutting and self-harm.  Make sure your teenager understands that they do not need to always follow what their peers are doing as it can be quite dangerous.  Because you are the parent, your teenager might not listen to you about this.  Teenagers might believe that their parents are outdated and don’t understand.  If this is the case, seek a counsellor for your teenager.

Read more about your teenager here and about depression and suicide here.

Monica_in

 

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Helping your teenager”

Helping your teenager

Hong Kong counseling and therapy services-teen-counseling

Parents and teenagers often get frustrated with one another because they feel as if they are misunderstood and unheard.  As a parent, if you understand some of the developmental needs of a teenager, you may feel less stressed when they act out.   Here are some key points on how you can better communicate with your teenager.

1. Social Pressure: Teenagers are under pressure to fit in with their social group.  They are constantly looking for validation from their peer group because they have not yet developed a solid sense of identity.  They might ask to do things their friends are doing, or have what their friends have so that they fit in. It is important to be flexible with this while still setting clear boundaries around what is safe and reasonable for your teenager.

2. Rejection: Teenagers often feel rejected if they have not found a peer group that they fit into.  They might also feel rejected by a love interest.  This sense of rejection can be horrible for your teen’s self-esteem.  It is important that they come home to a safe space that is free of judgement.  As a parent, you might feel stressed by your teenager’s emotions and actions.  It is in these moments that you remind your teenager that you love them unconditionally, but you have to set boundaries to keep them safe.

3. Cutting: Sometimes teenagers feel overwhelming emotional pain, rejection or pressure.  They might resort to cutting to punish themselves, distract themselves from the emotional pain or to help them feel something other than numb.  If your teenager is frequently cutting, a professional should be consulted.

If you feel overwhelmed by your teenager’s emotions and behaviours, reach out to a professional.  Practice compassion and empathy towards yourself and your teenager.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Increasing Self-Confidence”

Increasing Self-Confidence

Hong Kong Psychologist Counselling Therapist

confidenceStanding in the MTR or lift can be a scrutinising experience in Hong Kong, as well as other international cities. We all like to look at our peers to socially compare ourselves to them, and them to us. This increases or decreases our false sense of self.  The false sense of self is the self that is attached to external validation, meaning the approval of others.

Our self-esteem rises and falls depending on our accomplishments, failures, and health of our physical body. When we are accomplishing things such as excelling in a sport, academics, relationships, or our career; we are on top of the world. When we experience failure loss or rejection, our confidence and self-esteem decrease.

Nothing lasts forever. Recognise that you are more than those circumstances, more than your accomplishments and your failures. Learn to recognise that approval and security come from within yourself.

Some of us may feel unsure of who we are because we’ve let our parents, our friends, authority figures or society tell us who we should and should not be. There may be points in your life where you are being pulled in many different directions by many different people.

Here are some key points to enhance your self-confidence along your journey to self-discovery

Recognise and reframe negative self-talk.

When we recognise that we have a negative internal monologue – such as calling ourselves “stupid, fat, or ugly,” we can reframe that thought to constructive criticism. For example, “My boss is upset with my performance. I need to try to make it to work on time and make sure that I get more sleep.” Instead of “I’m a worthless failure.” The first phrase provides a workable situation that enhances growth, whereas the second phrase leaves you unmotivated.

Grow as a human being.

Set goals and challenge yourself. When you accomplish goals, you feel better about yourself. On the journey to self-growth and goals, we might meet some failure or rejection. Realise this is normal and everyone faces the challenges. Allow the failure and rejection to inspire you to try again or find another creative avenue.  When a child is learning to walk, he falls and then gets up.  He might cry for a minute, but he always tries again.  As we mature, we encounter more failure and rejection, we can either get up or give up.  Those who give up will never know what they are truly capable of.

Sit in non-judgement as much as possible.

Human beings are judgemental by nature. We have been taught since day one to be “good” and not “bad.”  When we label people, we fail to recognise that all of us are a unique blend of biology, culture, and beliefs. When you accept that people are living their reality based upon their life experiences, you realise that there is nothing to judge.  This non-judgment helps you to feel more comfortable in your own skin because you will also stop judging yourself as much.  You begin to realise that it is a waste of energy and time to judge others, just as it is for others to judge you.  Focus on yourself and what you need to accomplish to become a better person.

Have boundaries.

Don’t allow others to take more of your time, energy or resources than you can give. Do not allow others to abuse you emotionally, verbally, or physically.  It is ok to say no.  When you give more than you want to, you become fatigued and drained.  Often times this may lead to the resentment of others.  If you enjoy helping others, make sure that you are helping yourself as well.

Get rid of toxic people

Toxic people are people who treat you with disrespect or make you feel bad about yourself. Start to recognise your emotional state around others and be curious about that. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and objectives as you. If you have a toxic boss or co-worker and you need to deal with them, don’t take their negative behaviour personally. Here is another great article on how to manage these sorts of people

http://www.entrepreneur.stfi.re/article/290372?sf=nxprpeg#aa

Remain balanced

When we are out of balance physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we feel down. To remain physically balanced, eat nutritiously and exercise as well as get enough sleep. Connect with yourself through meditation and self-reflection to remain spiritually balanced. Remain emotionally balanced by recognising and respecting your emotions as well as the emotions of others. Emotions give us information about our behaviour as well as the behaviour of others.

Practice gratitude

Express appreciation to those around you who are kind or do kind things for you. Express gratitude towards yourself and your body. Expressing gratitude rewires our brain to feel and think positively.  When we feel positive, we attract positive people into our lives.  The majority of people in the world want to be appreciated and respected.  Expressing gratitude to others enhances relationships with others and yourself.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Identifying Toxic People”

Identifying Toxic People

Hong Kong counsellling therapist services

co-author Paul Logan (www.basicreflex.com)

Artwork by Kalok Ng

Email: thekalokng@gmail.com

Identifying toxic relationships and abuse

Toxic relationships often harm our self-esteem and leave us feeling drained of energy. When we learn how to identify toxic relationships and abuse we can move away from them. If we have a history of being abused, we may not recognise that we are caught in a cycle of abuse. Some warning signs to watch for are:

You feel unheard 

You have told the other person how you feel or think, yet they do not seem to hear you.  When you speak, they may often talk over you or not allow you to get a word in edgewise.  They may talk as if they are the expert on all topics, therefore what you have to say is irrelevant.

Your words and emotions are used against you

The toxic person watches your emotions and listens to your words closely so that they can use this information in the future to get a reaction out of you.  Toxic people often draw energy from other people’s negative reactions.  If the toxic person is feeling angry or depressed, they want those around them to feel the same way.  You may often feel as if you are constantly walking on eggshells.  You are never sure what pleases them or makes them angry.

The toxic person tried to isolate you from friends and family

This is a huge red flag that should not be ignored.  If the toxic person wants to isolate you, beware that this might be an indication that abuse is around the corner.  If you are isolated from others, they can abuse and control you with the interference of others.

The toxic person criticises you or shames you in private or in public

The toxic person is often concerned that they are going to lose you.  To keep you they might try to use this tactic to make you feel bad about yourself.  If you feel bad about yourself, you will be easier to control. Beware if you often feel humiliated or small around this person.

When toxic people enter your life, they want you to believe that you can’t live without them. They use manipulation tactics to keep you hooked to them. These tactics may include

Acting hot and cold. 

One minute they are love bombing you, sweeping you off your feet and the next minute they want nothing to do with you.  They may profess their love to you and the next disappear for days at a time.

Gaslighting 

Gaslighting is used to make you feel like you are going crazy.  For example, they might say, “I didn’t do that, you’re crazy.  Have you completely lost your mind.”  When in fact, you saw or heard them do this particular action in question.  They will use this tactic to make you doubt your own judgement.

Playing victim to get your sympathy.

This tactic works on those who are high in empathy.  Often toxic people are attracted to empathetic people because they can use the empath’s willingness to help against them.  Once they have your sympathy, the toxic person will hurt you to control you or make you feel bad about yourself.

These are just a few of the tactics that toxic people use.  Leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult because self-esteem has been damaged. Often the help of a counsellor or therapist can be useful to make sure that you are safe both physically and emotionally. It can take some time to rebuild self-esteem and self-identity after abuse.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Coping with your child’s behavior and emotions”

Coping with your child’s behavior and emotions

Hong Kong counseling therapist services - child therapy

Many parents struggle with what they consider to be bad behavior from their children.  Demands from work and relationships can lead to a sense of feeling overwhelmed.  The last thing an over-stressed parent has patience for is children who misbehave.  The following is a guide to behavioral management to use at home to gain control over what feels to be an out of control environment.  Children often push boundaries. Therefore, changing behavior requires patience.  At first, children will resist the boundaries and rules; they may even behave worse than before.  Stick to the plan with patience and diligence, and in time behavior will improve substantially.  Offer children choices so that they feel as if they have some control in their lives.  Children are often told no, don’t do that, or do this.  They don’t have as much power as an adult; this can be frustrating at times.  Treat your child with respect, like you would any other human being in an age appropriate manner.

Some sound advice on behavioral management for children

  1.  There are no bad children, only behavior that can improve. Often children with behavioral problems suffer from anxiety or are gifted; they find themselves easily bored.  When children are anxious, they can become easily overstimulated. Turn down the noise and the activities within the room.  Create a safe environment by providing predictability.
  2.  Action and consequence.  Develop house rules where everyone in the household is expected to follow.  Try to phrase the house rule positively.  Always let the child know exactly what is expected of them and what the consequence will be if the rule is broken.  For example, house rule number 1: “Hands and feet are for playing and not hitting or kicking.”  It is important that everyone in the household follows the rules and enforces the consequences.  This means that parents are also not allowed to hit or kick the children.  Children learn from watching adults. Children think, “if mom and dad hit me when I am angry, then I can hit others when I am angry.”  Condition children through positive reinforcement.  Always reward the positive behavior by acknowledging it, ignore behavior that you believe is just to get attention – like temper tantrums. Use negative reinforcement if they misbehave. For example,  if you throw your toys, I take the toys away.   Do not raise your voice to shout at children. Lower your voice so that they have to calm down to hear what you are saying.  You can say the following, “I know that you are angry, but I can’t understand you when you are kicking and shouting.  When you are ready, we can talk about what you want.”
  3.  Maintain eye-contact. Children are easily distracted by sound and other things in the environment.  When you want their attention, ask them if you can see their eyes.  Say, “Can I see your eyes please?” If they are still running around and not listening to you, walk over to them and place your eyes at the same level as theirs; this may require you squat or kneel down.  Maintaining eye-contact lets the parent know that the child is listening, and allows the child to know that they are being seen.  Kneeling down to be at the child’s height also allows the child to pay attention and contains a level of respect between the child and the parent.
  4.  Modeling behavior and emotions.  Children model the behavior of their parents.  If a parent reacts to anger by punching the wall or throwing objects, so will the child.  If you are too angry to deal with your child, walk away until you have calmed down.  When you are ready, model emotions by talking about how you feel.  Example, “I am feeling angry right now because the internet isn’t working and I need to finish my work.”  Then the child watches you take deep breaths as you try to calm down without shouting or throwing things.  Children are kinesthetic and connected to their parents.  If a parent is anxious, the child becomes anxious.  This is also known as “mood contagion.”
  5.  Create predictability. Let your child know what is planned for them that day.  Children are under their parental control and often do not have a choice in what happens within a day.  Let them know the schedule ahead of time.  If your child is playing, tell them we need to clean up in ten minutes.  If you are in a rush, tell them they have one more minute to play and then they need to go.  This way the child mentally prepares for what is to happen next.
  6.  Let your children play. Children relieve stress and anxiety through play, as well as learn how to create, negotiate and problem solve.  Play is also a great way to connect with your child.  When playing with your child, let them direct the play. If they want to play with legos, you follow.  Out of respect, ask them if you can play with their toys as well.
  7. Manage your stress. It is hard to feel patient when you are overwhelmed with your stress.  Allow yourself some alone time to exercise, read or do an activity that you enjoy, daily if possible.  Respect your needs and request that others do so as well.  Express gratitude and appreciation daily.  This trains your brain to focus on the positive instead of the negative.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Keeping your child secure during a divorce”

Keeping your child secure during a divorce

Keeping your child secure during a divorce.

During a divorce, parents might experience intense emotions towards the other estranged parent. Often, unknowingly, one of the parents emotionally harms a child during and after the separation. For your child’s emotional and social well-being, it is essential that your child has a secure attachment to both parents. A secure attachment means that the child feels safe to discuss or display emotions in front of either parent. For a child, it is vital that the parent is a secure base, this enables them to develop a sense of self, and have a healthy dose of independence and resilience in the world. It can be difficult for adults experiencing grief, trauma or other strong emotions to put the child’s needs first. During a divorce, your child might also grieve or feel confused. Here are a few pointers to help your child adjust during this challenging period.

  1. Children love both parents: Children often feel sad for the parent who is grieving. They may take sides with the parent they believe has been wronged. It is important that they understand that it is ok to love both parents. Even if you have been hurt, make sure your child knows that you have forgiven the other parent.
  2. Remember who the adult is and who the child is: It is ok to talk to your children about your emotions, but make sure that you are comforting them and not expecting the child to comfort you. Here is an example of a conversation you might have with your child. “I know that you are sad that mum and dad will not be living together anymore. You might be feeling scared. But mum and dad both love you a lot, and you can talk to us anytime. I am also feeling sad, and sometimes you might see me cry. It is ok to cry when you feel sad. I do not want you to feel like you have to take care of me. I am here to take care of you because I am the parent. Right now all you need to do is be a kid.”
  3. Create predictability: Children might feel surprised and shocked about the divorce.   They might also develop a fear of the dark and want to sleep with you at night. These insecurities and fears emerge because of the unpredictability of the divorce. Create a routine and let your children know what to expect that day and week.
  4. Security: They might feel insecure and want to be around one of the parents more. They might cling to one of the parents out of fear that they will be abandoned. Remind your child that they are safe and you are never going to leave them. They might become worried that the parent who moved out of the house is also leaving them. They might also worry that they will lose the parent they are currently living with. A picture of you and the other parent in a locket, or in a wallet might be reassuring for the child to have if they are experiencing separation anxiety.
  5. Bedtime routines: Your child might want to sleep with you at night because they want the extra security. You might also want to be comforted by your child during this time. If you let your child sleep with you, it will be difficult to undo in the future. Create a predictable bedtime routine at night that helps your child feel secure. You can tuck them into their own bed and read to them. Every night tell your child that they are safe and that you love them and will never leave them. If they have nightmares during the night, comfort them and put them back in their bed. Some children benefit from sleeping with a flashlight that they can use to make sure nothing is hiding under the bed or in the closet.
  6. Do not block access: Do not prevent your child speaking to or visiting the other parent. When they are on the phone with the other parent, give the child some space. The child may feel like they cannot be close to the other parent because they will hurt you. This is not a healthy emotional space for a child. A child identifies with both parents and blocking access can lead to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. It is essential for you to put your emotions towards the other parent aside around your children.
  7. Minimize conflict: If you are involved in a high conflict divorce, minimise the conflict around the children. Conflict activates your child’s fight or flight system and may lead to confusion and anxiety. Some children may also develop physical complaints and symptoms if they are unable to verbalise their emotions.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Meditation into the unknown”

Meditation into the unknown

Hong Kong psychologist offering counselling services-guided meditations

This script can be used word for word or can be improvised.  Feel free to add your own meditation practices into this for your own personalized experience. Feel free to sit with each pause or line for as long or as little as you need.

A Meditation Into the Unknown

Breathe, breathe in and out. Calm your mind, calm your body through your breath.

Focus on your breath. As thoughts enter your mind, let them go like the wind. Breathe. (Sit with your breath for as long as you feel necessary)

As you sit with your breath, focus on the sounds surrounding you. Just listen.

Now, what can you smell? Everything has a scent, you have a scent. What does this scent remind you of? (pause)

Now turn your attention to your heart. Without using your hand, feel your heart. Notice if it is beating fast or slow, hard of soft. (pause)

Create a space around your heart. Breathe into it. Let your heart be as big as it needs to be. (pause)

I want you to imagine that your heart has two sides. The front is the side you show to the world. That is your light side, the side that is social.

The back side of your heart is the dark side. The side that you hide. This is where you hide your shame and your fears.

Focus on this dark side. Be curious about what is there, without judgement. (pause)

We are going to begin our journey into our dark side, into the abyss.

Breathe

Let your anxiety and fear be there without trying to change it, without judging it. Find the tightness in your body, breathe air into the tightness. Expand the tightness and give it more space. (pause)

As you breathe, imagine you are descending into the sea, into the unknown. The dark water envelopes you, warming you. The darkness is giving you warmth.

As you sink down to the ocean floor, embrace the unknown, the darkness, without judgement, without trying to change it. Just let it be. Everything is as it should be.

You will then reach the depths of the ocean.  Find yourself gently lying on a pillow of white light. This white light creates a halo around you, and you are able to see around you more clearly.

When you look around you, you see that dolphins and whales have created a circle around you. They watch you in awe. They have never seen a human before, and they are amazed by you.

You can sense they are gentle and serene. You are not sure how they are communicating with you, but you receive a strong message. That message is telling you that you are safe and protected.

Breathe in.

The universe has provided you with the air to fill your lungs with the abundance of the universe. You thank the whales and the dolphins for their serene and gentle energy. You thank the universe for the abundance and providing you with air. You thank your heart for being open to receiving the message.

The stars shine down from the heavens, glistening in the water. Forming streams of white light in lines throughout the water. You breathe and realise everything is as it should be.

You let your body go limp. All of the stress and tension in your body is swallowed by the sea, washing away the tightness. You float weightlessly. (pause)

Your heart begins to quicken as you receive a message that it is time to go. You don’t know your destination, but you are not alone. The dolphins and whales surround you as you float quickly through the sea. The waves become quicker and larger. The waves carry you as if they are in a rush to take you to the unknown destination.

The sea creatures guide you and follow you on your path. You feel a strong divine presence. You realise you are a transcended being unto yourself. You have the ability to communicate with the earth and heavens. Breathe.

This new responsibility frightens you. Let it go. Trust that everything is as it should be. Trust yourself.

The dolphins and whales tell you that they can no longer continue with you on this journey. They must go back into the depths of the sea. You thank them. You love them. You are in awe of their majestic beauty. Your heart has opened. You are not the same as before. You are aware that you have your own unique path. You must go alone.

You gently float slowly towards the surface of the sea. The closer you get to the surface; the more light enters the sea. You find that the sun has come out and it is no longer night time.  The darkness is gone.

As you arrive at the surface, you see that the sun is large and fills the sky. There are no animals, there are no birds, there are no people.

You are completely alone.

The light of the sun enters your body. You allow the light of the sun to intertwine with the darkness inside you. You embrace your duality. You continue to float to your unknown destination. Unsure of who or what you will encounter.

You feel completely alone.

The universe tells you to be excited for the things to come as land appears on the horizon. In your loneliness, you embrace the unknown. You step off from the sea onto land and see the sun shining brightly on the path you will create.

As your feet are placed on the ground, you decide it is time to wake up.  When you are ready, open your eyes.  Move your body and try to come back to an awake state of consciousness.

The beautiful artwork was painted by Kalok Ng             Instagram:  @kolopiguss              email:kalokng@gmail.com

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Identifying Toxic People”

Identifying Toxic People

Hong Kong counsellling therapist services

co-author Paul Logan (www.basicreflex.com)

Artwork by Kalok Ng

Email: thekalokng@gmail.com

Identifying toxic relationships and abuse

Toxic relationships often harm our self-esteem and leave us feeling drained of energy. When we learn how to identify toxic relationships and abuse we can move away from them. If we have a history of being abused, we may not recognise that we are caught in a cycle of abuse. Some warning signs to watch for are:

You feel unheard 

You have told the other person how you feel or think, yet they do not seem to hear you.  When you speak, they may often talk over you or not allow you to get a word in edgewise.  They may talk as if they are the expert on all topics, therefore what you have to say is irrelevant.

Your words and emotions are used against you

The toxic person watches your emotions and listens to your words carefully so that they can use this information in the future to get a reaction out of you.  Toxic people often draw energy from other people’s negative reactions.  If the toxic person is feeling angry or depressed, they want those around them to feel the same way.  You may often feel as if you are constantly walking on eggshells.  You are never sure what pleases them or makes them angry.

The toxic person tried to isolate you from friends and family

This is a huge red flag that should not be ignored.  If the toxic person wants to separate you, beware that this might be an indication that abuse is around the corner.  If you are isolated from others, they can abuse and control you with the interference of others.

The toxic person criticises you or shames you in private or in public

The toxic person is often concerned that they are going to lose you.  To keep you they might try to use this tactic to make you feel bad about yourself.  If you feel bad about yourself, you will be easier to control. Beware if you often feel humiliated or small around this person.

When toxic people enter your life, they want you to believe that you can’t live without them. They use manipulation tactics to keep you hooked to them. These tactics may include

Acting hot and cold. 

One minute they are love bombing you, sweeping you off your feet and the next minute they want nothing to do with you.  They may profess their love to you, and the next to disappear for days at a time.

Gaslighting 

Gaslighting is used to make you feel like you are going crazy.  For example, they might say, “I didn’t do that, you’re crazy.  Have you completely lost your mind.”  When in fact, you saw or heard them do this particular action in question.  They will use this tactic to make you doubt your own judgement.

Playing victim to get your sympathy.

This tactic works on those who are high in empathy.  Often toxic people are attracted to empathetic people because they can use the empath’s willingness to help them.  Once they have your sympathy, the toxic person will hurt you to control you or make you feel bad about yourself.

These are just a few of the tactics that toxic people use.  Leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult because self-esteem has been damaged. Often the help of a counsellor or therapist can be useful to make sure that you are safe both physically and emotionally. It can take some time to rebuild self-esteem and self-identity after abuse.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Self Compassion”

Self Compassion

Standing in the MTR or lift can be a scrutinising experience in Hong Kong, as well as other international cities. We all like to look at our peers to socially compare ourselves to them, and them to us. This increases or decreases our false sense of self.  The false sense of self is the self that is attached to external validation, meaning the approval of others.

Our self-esteem rises and falls depending on our accomplishments, failures, and health of our physical body. When we are accomplishing things such as excelling in a sport, academics, relationships, or our career; we are on top of the world. When we experience failure loss or rejection, our confidence and self-esteem decrease.

The key to balancing our self-esteem, our confidence and our self-image is to realise that wins and fails are only temporary. Nothing lasts forever. Recognise that you are more than those circumstances, more than your accomplishments and your failures. Learn to accept that approval and security come from within yourself.

Some of us may feel unsure of who we are because we’ve let our parents, our friends, authority figures or society tell us who we should and should not be. There may be points in your life where you are being pulled in many different directions by many different people.

Here are some key points to enhance your self-confidence along your journey to self-discovery

Recognise and reframe negative self-talk.

When we acknowledge that we have a negative internal monologue – such as calling ourselves “stupid, fat, or ugly,” we can reframe that thought to constructive criticism. For example, “My boss is upset with my performance. I need to try to make it to work on time and make sure that I get more sleep.” Instead of “I’m a worthless failure.” The first phrase provides a workable situation that enhances growth, whereas the second phrase leaves you unmotivated.

Grow as a human being.

Set goals and challenge yourself. When you accomplish goals, you feel better about yourself. On the journey to self-growth and goals, we might meet some failure or rejection. Realise this is normal and everyone faces the challenges. Allow the failure and rejection to inspire you to try again or find another creative avenue.  When a child is learning to walk, he falls and then gets up.  He might cry for a minute, but he always tries again.  As we mature, we encounter more failure and rejection, we can either get up or give up.  Those who give up will never know what they are truly capable of.

Sit in non-judgement as much as possible.

Human beings are judgemental by nature. We have been taught since day one to be “good” and not “bad.”  When we label people, we fail to recognise that all of us are a unique blend of biology, culture, and beliefs. When you accept that people are living their reality based upon their life experiences, you realise that there is nothing to judge.  This non-judgment helps you to feel more comfortable in your own skin because you will also stop judging yourself as much.  You begin to realise that it is a waste of energy and time to judge others, just as it is for others to judge you.  Focus on yourself and what you need to accomplish to become a better person.

Have boundaries.

Don’t allow others to take more of your time, energy or resources than you can give. Do not allow others to abuse you emotionally, verbally, or physically.  It is ok to say no.  When you give more than you want to, you become fatigued and drained.  Often times this may lead to the resentment of others.  If you enjoy helping others, make sure that you are helping yourself as well.

Get rid of toxic people

Toxic people are people who treat you with disrespect or make you feel bad about yourself. Start to recognise your emotional state around others and be curious about that. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and objectives as you. If you have a toxic boss or co-worker and you need to deal with them, don’t take their negative behaviour personally. Here is another great article on how to manage these sorts of people

http://www.entrepreneur.stfi.re/article/290372?sf=nxprpeg#aa

Remain balanced

When we are out of balance physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we feel down. To stay physically balanced, eat nutritiously and exercise as well as get enough sleep. Connect with yourself through meditation and self-reflection to remain spiritually balanced. Remain emotionally balanced by recognising and respecting your emotions as well as the emotions of others. Emotions give us information about our behaviour as well as the conduct of others.

Practice gratitude

Express appreciation to those around you who are kind or do kind things for you. Express gratitude towards yourself and your body. Expressing gratitude rewires our brain to feel and think positively.  When we feel positive, we attract positive people into our lives.  The majority of people in the world want to be appreciated and respected.  Expressing gratitude to others enhances relationships with others and yourself.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Helping your child overcome academic pressure”

Helping your child overcome academic pressure

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Academic pressure is a major source of anxiety and stress for many children and teens.  As a parent, you want what is best for your child.  Here are a few pointers to help you ease the academic pressure your child might be feeling.

  1. Have a stress free homework routine.  After school allow your child or teen to have a snack.  Food will help them to be in a better mood and help their brain concentrate better.  It is difficult to think when you are hungry.  Set a regular routine where after they eat, do homework, and then they can be rewarded with play or exercise.
  2. Allow your child breaks.  The brain can only focus for certain amounts of time.  Children have a shorter attention span than adults.  If your child is having a difficult time sitting still, make a game out of the homework.  Say, “If you can focus and do this worksheet properly, you can have two minutes to play, or do whatever you like.  When I count to ten, we resume the homework again.”
  3. Take the pressure out of the home.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  If your child is struggling in math, do not add more pressure by shouting or punishing them.  Sit down next to them and patiently explain it to them. If you are unable to be patient with them, hire a patient tutor.  Speak kindly to your child.  When your child is calm, they can think better.
  4. Allow play and exercise for added focus and brain power. Your child or teen needs to play and exercise in order to sit through school.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making it easier to focus and learn.  Children need to play to reduce stress.
  5. Stress reduction.  Anxiety and stress hinder learning because the fight or flight system is activated.  Anxiety and stress make it difficult to focus and learn.  Stress and anxiety can be reduced in different ways, such as play, art, exercise and breathing techniques.  Allow your child to open up to you and express how they are feeling without judgement and punishment.
  6. Sleep. Make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep at night.  Lack of sleep makes it difficult to learn.
  7. Proper nutrition.  Too much sugar will create fatigue and shorten attention span.  Proper nutrition and diet lead to a healthy body and brain.
  8. Remain calm.  The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.  This enables a better learning environment in and outside of the home.
  9. Decrease screen time. Overstimulation from the iPad, television, computer, video games and phone decrease attention. Limit the amount your teen or child is allowed to use these electronic devices.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel